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 / Updated  / Source: Today
By Lisa Tolin

The best toys and gifts for 7-year-olds help them write stories, draw detailed pictures, build and create things.

Seven-year-olds are noticeably better at fine motor skills that help them write and create than they were at age 6, said Dr. Amanda Gummer, founder of Fundamentally Children in the United Kingdom.

Crafts, sports equipment and building materials are among the top toys for 7-year-olds, noted Susan Kambrich, head of the Woodland Hill Montessori School in Rensselaer, New York, and Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the American Montessori Society.

At age 7, kids are also becoming more confident readers, ready to explore the world through graphic novels, nonfiction books and more sophisticated chapter books — though they will still get plenty of satisfaction from picture books, too.

They’re probably not ready to read "Harry Potter" alone, but they’re certainly ready for Harry Potter mania as we celebrate the 20th anniversary.

When we release our 2018 gift guides, we make sure all prices are current. But, prices change frequently (yay, deals!), so there’s a chance the prices are now different than they were the day of publication.

Best games, books and toys for 7-year-olds

  • 1. Geomag Glow Kit, $42, Amazon

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Gummer recommended these magnetic construction pieces, similar to the popular Magnatiles that let kids build endless combinations.

  • 2. Lottie Doll Wildlife Photographer, $25, Amazon

These diverse dolls include accessories such as cochlear implants and hobbies like star gazing or fossil hunting.

  • 3. "Mac B, Kid Spy," by Mac Barnett, $11 (originally $13), Amazon

This new chapter book series is a humorous mock-memoir about the years before Mac Barnett was the best-selling author of books including the Terrible Two series.

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  • 4. Mattel Games Uno Tin, $5, Walmart

This classic game appeals to a 7-year-old's sense of competition and fair play. "Learning to lose and win is an important skill to gain," Gummer said.

  • 5. "Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker" by Shelley Johannes, $5, Amazon

Shelley Johannes' new chapter book heroine does her best thinking upside down. Perfect for fans of "Dory Fantasmagory."

  • 6. Donkit Darts Magnetic Dart Board, $30, Amazon

A magnetic dart board is great for motor skills and competition, without the danger of real darts.

  • 7. "Who Is (Your Name Here)" by Paul K. Manzanero, $9, Amazon

The "Who Was" series features engrossing biographies of everyone from Neil Armstrong to Bono. This edition lets kids write their own stories.

  • 8. Klutz LEGO Chain Reaction kit, $15 (originally $22), Walmart

"Building can engage children in higher level thinking and creative problem solving through hands-on design and construction," said Kambrich. Any LEGO kit will be a hit for 7-year-olds, but this one promotes STEM skills along with construction.

  • 9. eeBoo Colored Pencils, $10, Amazon

Beautiful pencils can make writing and drawing a joy.

  • 10. eeBoo Write and Draw Notebook Set, $15, Amazon

These journals are the perfect place to write stories, practice drawing or start a journal.

  • 11. Style.Lab Magic Sequin Reveal Pouch, $11, Amazon

Flip sequins are all the rage. Give them something to keep art supplies or collectibles in. (This reverses to reveal a unicorn.)

What better way to get a 7-year-old excited about writing? (And their grandparents.)

  • 13. "Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas," by Dav Pilkey, $7 (originally $10), Amazon

King of kid humor Dav Pilkey brings the fun of "Captain Underpants" to the new adventures of Dog Man in this graphic novel.

  • 14. Rush Hour Jr. Traffic Jam Puzzle, $20, Walmart

This logic game comes with a growing list of challenges. (Or try the 8 and up version for a little math whiz.)

  • 15. Moulin Roty Sewing Kit, $60 (originally $65), Amazon

Seven-year-olds are ready for more intricate crafting, including sewing or knitting.

  • 16. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," by J.K. Rowling, $10 (originally $13), Amazon

The 20th anniversary edition of "Harry Potter" features stunning new covers by Brian Selznick. You can spring for the box set or try the illustrated edition.

  • 17. LEGO Harry Potter Quidditch Match, $60, Amazon

Combine LEGO love with Harry Potter love and you might get magic.

  • 18. Crayola Color Chemistry Lab, $25, Target

This kit includes 50 different colorful experiments.

  • 19. First Act Acoustic Guitar, $30 (originally $60), Amazon

Seven is a good age to start playing an instrument. "Not only do children love music, it also develops areas of the brain related to language, memory and reasoning," Kambrich said. This small guitar helpfully labels the strings, so it's a great instrument for beginners.

  • 20. "Carmela Full of Wishes," by Matt de la Pena and Chistian Robinson, $13 (originally $18), Amazon

The new picture book from Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson of "Last Stop on Market Street" tells the story of a child of immigrants.

Gear like these binoculars, backyard tents and walkie talkies encourage outdoor play and exploration.

  • 22. Learning Resources Beaker Creatures, $25, Walmart

Combine science with collectibles as kids use a bubbly reaction to find a hidden creature.

  • 23. "She Persisted" Boxed Set, $23 (originally $36), Amazon

These profiles of women who made a difference are a great introduction to nonfiction. Or try Chelsea Clinton's "Start Now!" for ages 7 and up.

  • 24. Sick Science Fizz Pop Boom Science Kit, $21, Amazon

Turn a soda bottle into a rocket and more with this science kit to encourage STEM skills.

  • 25. ThinkFun Laser Maze, $30 (originally $32), Amazon

This logic game promotes STEM skills. Try the junior version for kids who might appreciate a more approachable challenge.

  • 26. Pop-Up Soccer Goals, $37, Amazon

Sports are becoming more rewarding to 7-year-olds as they gain strength and stamina. "Gifts that help children gain confidence in their abilities can really help this age," Dr. Gummer said.

  • 27. "Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare," by Shannon and Dean Hale, $13 (originally $15), Amazon

The latest in Shannon and Dean Hale's "Princess in Black" series, about a princess with a secret identity.

Finding the perfect present can be a challenge, but Shop TODAY's up to the task. No matter who you're looking for, we've got gift guides for everyone on your list, including: